JEKYLL ISLAND, GA – Gary Black, Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner who received more votes than any candidate for U.S. Senate or Governor in 2018 and 2014, today launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Raphael Warnock.
“Warnock and Biden promised to ‘fundamentally change America,’” Black said. “They’re five months into it and job growth and opportunity are down, inflation, debt and gas prices are up, the Middle East is back at war. Satisfied? Or sickened? I fundamentally object. I’ll stand in the gap and say the wave comes this far, and no further.”
A longtime champion of agribusiness — Georgia’s largest economic driver — Black has made the “Georgia Grown” brand one of the most successful marketing efforts of its kind in the nation.
Black was a founding member of President Trump’s rural and agriculture advisory group started in June of 2016. He also hosted President Trump in a visit with Georgia farmers hit hard by Hurricane Michael and worked with the administration to utilize China tariff money on expanded marketing efforts in Taiwan. He was a vocal backer of Congressman Doug Collins’ Senate campaign last year.
He received more votes than any candidate for U.S. Senate or Governor of either party in Georgia in 2018 and 2014.
Biography of Gary Black
Gary W. Black has championed innovation, solutions, support, and growth in Georgia’s largest industry for over 40 years.
Gary grew up on his family’s beef cattle farm in Commerce, GA where he and his wife Lydia also raised their children, Ward and Caroline. He is a University of Georgia graduate, and a past president of the college’s alumni society.
Under Gary’s leadership, the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s divisions for information technology, animal health, homeland security and food safety have garnered national acclaim. Commissioner Black has led innovation in domestic and international promotion through the renowned Georgia Grown branding program, helping Georgians start businesses and expand markets. Since taking office in 2011, Gary has also improved the department’s fiscal responsibility and performance, as well as strengthened career paths for employees.
Gary Black is a Leadership Georgia Pattillo Award recipient and the 2017 Georgia Trend Magazine Georgian of the Year. He currently serves on advisory committees for the United States Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and the Export Import Bank of the United States.
Gary and Lydia continue to raise commercial beef cattle at Harmony Grove Farms, and serve together in various ministries at Maysville Baptist Church.
ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton) and the leadership of the House Majority Caucus issue the following statement in support of Israel:
“In the last two days, more than 1,000 rockets have been fired at innocent men, women and children in Israel. The Israeli people are being attacked by Hamas terrorists bent on killing as many civilians as possible. It is appalling, and it must end.
“We send our love and prayers to our friends in Israel — a nation that remains one of the most loyal and important allies the United States has ever known. May God protect them and keep them safe.
“We call on the White House to denounce these barbaric acts of terrorism and to rally the peace-loving nations of the world in defense of Israel and its people.”
The House Majority Caucus leadership team includes Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington), Majority Caucus Chairman Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin), Majority Whip Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), Majority Caucus Vice Chairman Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) and Majority Caucus Secretary-Treasurer Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe).
Marietta, GA – Today, Kelvin King announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. King, a Georgia native, proud veteran, Republican activist, and successful business owner, had the following to say about his campaign.
“Republicans in our state are at a crossroads. We’ve seen what’s at stake in our country. The Biden Administration is currently wrecking our economy, creating a crisis at our border, and systematically dismantling every bit of the “America First” agenda implemented over the last four years. Career politicians, woke corporations, and the cancel culture are all empowered while our families and small businesses are left to pay the price. As the GOP, we have to decide right now if we are knocked down or knocked out. Personally, I am ready to take back our state and fight for the future of our country!
Many of you across Georgia know my wife, Janelle, and me. I am a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a proud veteran, and the owner of a successful construction company. At the same time, my story includes being born to a teenage mother, raised in a single parent home, and overcoming the challenge of poverty. Statistically speaking, I shouldn’t have made it. I truly am a product of the American dream, which makes me the fiercest defender of freedom, opportunity, and American exceptionalism.
I believe our nation deserves better than President Biden and his weak leadership, just as I believe our state deserves better than Senator Warnock’s divisive far left representation. This election for the U.S. Senate is bigger than you and me. Georgia truly is ground zero for taking back our country. Let’s win for America.”
Kelvin King was born in Macon, GA and raised in Mableton, GA. His mom, Janet, was a teenager when she had Kelvin. His mother, at a young age, had the courage to leave an abusive marriage, becoming a single mother to two children, Kelvin and his younger sister Tameisha. Kelvin spent most of his childhood in a single parent home and they oftentimes struggled to make ends meet. Though he became the man of the family early, his mother and grandmother worked hard to instill in him the values needed to grow into a successful young adult. It was these values he credits with earning him an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy where he was an All-Conference football player.
Kelvin graduated from the Academy and served 5 years in the Air Force as a Contracting Officer. He made the rank of Captain before deciding to leave the military and transition to corporate America. Upon completion of his service, he returned to Georgia to begin building his life as a civilian. He worked in procurement, business development and eventually became the General Manager of an international construction firm where he achieved numerous honors including being named to the Top 20 Under 40 in ENR Magazine and Manager of the Year in his company. After several years in this role, he decided to save enough money to start his own construction firm, Osprey Management. Kelvin’s firm has twice been named the fastest-growing business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Kelvin is married to Janelle who serves as a panelist and commentator on Fox 5 Atlanta’s “The Georgia Gang.” The two of them have been entrenched in Georgia politics as leading conservative activists and are passionate about spreading the Republican message throughout the minority community. They founded “Speak Georgia”, a 501c3 organization designed to educate and provide resources to the community directly from subject matter experts.
The Kings attend the Church of the Apostles and in their free time enjoy cooking out with friends. Kelvin is also the proud father of a fellow Air Force veteran Christian Ward – GO AIR FORCE!
ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and State Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) announced that House Bill 146 received final passage in the General Assembly today. House Bill 146 provides three weeks of paid parental leave as a new benefit to full-time state employees and teachers. This is the Georgia’s first paid parental leave benefit for state employees and teachers.
“This paid parental leave benefit speaks to our hardworking state employees and teachers and tells them that we value their contributions and the sacrifices they make to serve our citizens,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I commend Representative Gaines for taking the lead on this important initiative which demonstrates our unyielding commitment to families and giving children the best possible start in Georgia.”
This new paid parental leave benefit would provide some 245,000 state employees and teachers with three weeks of paid leave upon the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. It applies to all employees with six months of creditable service regardless of the employee’s gender. It is limited to once in any 12-month period. This benefit does not impact the employee’s accrued leave or rights under any family medical leave policy.
“I am proud that this legislation received such overwhelming bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Rep. Houston Gaines. “We know this benefit will make a difference in the lives of young families across our state. This is a pro-family, pro-jobs bill that will set the right example in the nation’s #1 state for business.”
Co-sponsors of House Bill 146 included Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton), Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville), Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee), and Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn). House Bill 146 was carried in the State Senate by President Pro Tempore Butch Miller (R-Gainesville).
Speaker David Ralston announced a paid parental leave benefit for employees of the Georgia House of Representatives in July 2019. That benefit went into effect in January 2020. The State Senate implemented a similar policy at that time.
House Bill 146 now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for his consideration. More information about House Bill 146 may be found here.
Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp today announced the state will expand its vaccine eligibility March 15, 2021, to include adults aged 55 and older, individuals with disabilities, and certain medical conditions.
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are already eligible for vaccination. This expansion now includes disabilities caused by an injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury), a disability due to a longstanding condition that could cause vision loss, nerve damage or loss of a limb, or a disability due to illness such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.
The medical conditions referenced are:
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Heart Conditions
- Immunocompromised State
- Liver Disease
- Neurologic Conditions
- Overweight and Obesity
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Disease
To find a vaccine location near you or to schedule an appointment, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. For individuals aged 16 and 17 who are in an eligible population for vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages. Please schedule an appointment at CVS or Walgreens or at one of the GEMA mass vaccination sites to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available to you.
For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.
GAINESVILLE – The 13 District 2 county health departments have appointments available now for the COVID-19 vaccine. “Recent shipments have given us enough vaccine to open up more appointments for residents,” said Alan Satterfield, Director of Nursing. “We hope that residents who are eligible to be vaccinated will take this opportunity to make an appointment.” Eligible residents can make appointments by calling 1-888-426-5073 OR online at www.phdistrict2.org OR by calling their local health department.
To see if you are eligible, go to https://dph.georgia.gov/
On March 8, eligibility was expanded to include pre-K through 12 educators and staff of public and private schools, adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their caregivers, and parents of children with complex medical conditions.
ATLANTA (January 25, 2021) | Recently, Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) received his committee assignments for the 2021 legislative session.
Sen. Gooch will serve as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Vice Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and as a member of the Ethics, Finance, Reapportionment and Redistricting, and Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. Additionally, Sen. Gooch will serve as an Ex- Officio member of the Rules and Natural Resources and the Environment Committees. Sen. Gooch will also continue to serve as the Senate Majority Whip.
“I am grateful for the Lt. Governor’s office and the Senate Committee on Assignments for allowing me to serve our community, as well as our state, through these committee appointments,” said Sen. Gooch. “This session will be unlike any other that we have experienced and will require careful, responsible leadership, particularly when it comes to our state budget. I am honored to have an opportunity to lend my experience to the service of our state through these committees, as well as through my role as the Senate Majority Whip.”
“Sen. Gooch, as well as all members receiving committee assignments, have proven their ability to provide meaningful solutions to issues citizens face across the state,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Sen. Gooch brings a host of experience and knowledge to each committee he serves on and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him as he works tirelessly to advance policies in the best interest of all Georgians.”
The first session of the 156th Georgia General Assembly convened on January 11, 2021, at the Georgia State Capitol.
Atlanta – Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities are already in this highest priority group. The expanded administration of the vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks provided there is adequate vaccine supply available.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination. States have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.
“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders – provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”
“Different areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times based on the number of healthcare workers and LTCF residents and staff they have to vaccinate,” said Commissioner Toomey. “This expansion of 1a eligible vaccination criteria will allow vaccine to be administered as quickly as possible to our most at-risk populations in terms of exposure, transmission and severity. It also gives healthcare providers and public health staff time to plan and work with local communities across the state to ensure safe and efficient deployment of limited vaccine supplies.”
It is critical that even as vaccine becomes available to more people, all Georgians must continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. While the COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in preventing illness in the individual being vaccinated, it is not yet known if the vaccine fully prevents person to person transmission or asymptomatic infections.
For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.
ATLANTA-Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveils a new online portal to make it easier for Georgia voters to request absentee ballots for the November elections. Georgia voters with a driver’s license or state ID card will now be able to request an absentee ballot entirely online.
“Georgia is constantly searching for new and innovative ways to expand access to the ballot and uphold the integrity of the vote,” said Raffensperger. “We are encouraging Georgia voters who are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 threat to use our new online absentee ballot request portal to request absentee ballots safely and securely from their computers or phones. This new tool will help counties stay on top of the several million absentee ballot requests expected in November.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has developed a website that will allow Georgia voters to request an absentee ballot entirely online. Georgia voters will be able to request their ballot via the portal using their first and last name, date of birth, county where they are registered, and Georgia State ID or Georgia Driver’s License number. Voters will get a confirmation email that their request has been entered into the system. Also, voters can monitor their ballot status on My Voter Page.
Absentee ballots requested for the November 2020 presidential election cannot be sent out before September 15.
In the past, Georgia voters had to download and print an absentee ballot request, then scan and email it or put it in the mail. This new portal saves voters effort and postage and will increase confidence that the request has been received by county elections officials. It also makes it easier and faster for county election official to process absentee ballot requests by minimizing the possibility of data entry errors.
While the State ID or driver’s license number provide a secure safeguard for requesting ballots, the ballots themselves will still be verified by matching the voter signature to their signature on file upon submission. A record 1.6 million absentee ballot requests were received for the June primary, inundating county elections officials. This portal will make processing the large number of absentee ballot requests expected for the November election easier for county election officials to process quickly and accurately.
The Rabun County Baptist Association (RCBA) is sponsoring a workshop entitled “Reopening Your Church” to be held on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Liberty Baptist Church, 2206 Bridge Creek Road, Tiger, GA. The workshop begins at 10:00 AM and will conclude by 11:30 AM. All area churches and church leaders are invited to attend.
The workshop will focus on preparing your church facility, options for worship services, restarting Sunday School and small group meetings, and using the nursery. Michael Rogers, Pastor of Wolf Creek Baptist Church, along with Rick Ayers, a Christian businessman with Thornton Brothers, Inc., who is assisting businesses as they reopen, will lead a session on preparing and sanitizing your facility. Bill Barker, Pastor of Wolffork Baptist Church and Associational Missionary for the RCBA, will cover worship service options, small group meetings, and other considerations. Mike Blount, Associational Missionary for the Tugalo Baptist Association of Stephens County, will bring a devotional message. See more by clicking “Calendar” at www.RabunBaptists.org.
For more information, contact Bill Barker at (404) 538-2895 or [email protected].
ATLANTA — Doug Collins appeared this morning on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends to announce his decision to run for U.S. Senate in the November special election to fill former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s seat.
As a lifelong Georgian, Doug has lived a life of faith, public service and conservative values. Since 2013, he has proudly represented Northeast Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the last year, Doug has served as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, leading the fight against Democrats’ baseless attacks on President Trump.
Doug has served as chaplain in the Air Force Reserve since 2002, including a tour in Iraq in 2008. He is the only military chaplain in the House.
Click here to read more about Doug Collins.
GEORGIA NINTH DISTRICT – State Senator John Wilkinson announced today that he plans to run for the Ninth District Congressional seat. This election will be to replace Congressman Doug Collins, who has announced that he will be running for a seat in the United States Senate. Senator Wilkinson, who was elected to the State Senate in a special election in 2011 and has been re-elected to 4 additional terms, was raised on a small farm in Stephens County. Working with projects in 4-H and FFA, he learned the value of hard work, cooperation, and responsibility at an early age. Those values have stayed with him during his career in agriculture, education and politics. He has not missed a day of work during his eight years of service in the Senate.
“This is a critical time for our country, and we need an experienced, conservative voice willing to stand up for the values that residents of North Georgia hold dear”, said Wilkinson. “For the past eight years in Atlanta, I have fought to eliminate useless red tape and regulation of business, defended the sanctity of all life, and fought for our constitutional rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. I look forward to continuing that fight in Washington.”
A native of Toccoa and graduate of Stephens County High School, Wilkinson earned degrees in agriculture and education from the University of Georgia. He has experience as a classroom teacher and served on the State Agricultural Education staff for 26 years. He has served as State Advisor to the Georgia FFA Association, as well as the Georgia Young Farmer Association. He was recognized as the Outstanding Member of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education in 2006. He and his wife Debbie have two children and five grandchildren. John and Debbie are active members of Tates Creek Baptist Church.
Senator Wilkinson has served as Chair of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee in the Senate for the past eight years. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee, as well as a member of the Natural Resources and the Environment, Appropriations and Rules Committees. He has served as Secretary of the Senate Majority Caucus for the past 6 years.
The Ninth Congressional District includes all of Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, White and parts of Clarke, Forsyth and Pickens counties. To learn more about Senator John Wilkinson, please visit www.VoteWilkinson.com.
RABUN COUNTY, GA – Rabun County Sheriff’s Office is participating in No Shave November to support their own Sgt. Watts and his wife, Cass.
The organization is taking donations, accepting partnerships, and support. Anyone who is interested should contact the sheriff’s office for more information.
All participating staff will donate at least $30 or $1 a day to show support for Sgt. Watts while not shaving for the entire month. The money raised will be given to the Watts family.
No Shave November began as a way to raise awareness about cancer. The concept illustrates through hair growth that many cancer patients lose all their hair during treatment.
The rules for No Shave November are simply just don’t pick up a razor for 30 days and go natural for the month. Then, donate the money normally spent on shaving products to cancer research.
The charity event partners with St. Jude’s, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and Prevent Cancer Foundation.
So far in Nov. 2019, individuals have raised $437,196 for cancer research either on their own, in organizations, or on teams.
Speaker David Ralston Thanks Senator Johnny Isakson
ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) issued the following statement on the news that Georgia’s senior United States Senator Johnny Isakson will resign from office at the end of the year:
“The loss of Johnny Isakson from public life will leave a void in Georgia which is beyond comprehension. While I respect his reasons, I feel a tremendous sense of personal sadness – Johnny is a mentor, role model and friend. Over a distinguished career in the Georgia House, Georgia State Senate, State Board of Education, U.S. House and U.S. Senate, Johnny Isakson demonstrated that civility and reasonableness are virtues that will never go out of style. My family and I will continue to pray for Johnny, Dianne and the Isakson family.”